It’s been about six months that we’ve been here and we have only had one visitor, which was Anaelle and her fiancé Julien, and they had come earlier on in our trip. It had felt really cool to share our new corner of the world with them and just recently we got to share it with my grandparents (Dad’s side) for a little over two weeks!
My grandparents live in New York, so they had to take the same painful 18-hour flight to get here, but they arrived much less jet-lagged than we did. We all laughed when Grandpa walked up to the driver’s seat, and Dad gave him a very confused look. They weren’t used to the driving on the other side of the road.
They stayed a couple of nights in Gisborne, and we went to Rere Rockslide/Falls, which they enjoyed, and showed them around town.
After a couple of days in Gisborne, Chloe, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and I went on a one-week trip to the South Island of NZ! This was my first time going to the South Island and I couldn’t wait! We took a plane to the capital of New Zealand, Wellington, and what I loved about Wellington was that it was a big city like DC, and it reminded me of home. The city is built on a harbor and there are terrific views of the ocean, but that wasn’t my favorite part. I loved seeing familiar stores, big buildings, and even traffic lights (I know that sounds ridiculous, but there are only two traffic lights in Gisborne and we only traveled by foot in Wellington for the most part, so we didn’t have to wait for them). Living in Gisborne has made me realize that even if it’s awesome that it only takes 10 minutes to get to school in the morning, I am definitely more of a city person than a small town guy.
After a day in Wellington, we took a ferry over to Nelson where we rented a boat and went into these beautiful coves where the water was clear and colorful. Grandpa drove the boat because he has a boat in New York that is similar to the one we rented. The owners of the boat lent us a tube to go tubing, but they called the tube a biscuit. We weren’t sure if this was a British term of a Kiwi one, but we found it funny either way.
After two days in Nelson, Dad had to go home to work and Grandma, Grandpa, Chloe and I took a quick plane to Queenstown, a big destination of New Zealand.
Our first night there, we walked into town and saw a hilarious street actor named Sven from Sweden who was my favorite act out of all the street shows we saw in Queenstown (there were several every night that we stayed there). Queenstown was awesome because it was exactly like Park City, a city in Utah that we love to visit. It is a ski/snowboard town, it’s surrounded by mountains, and the town has the same sort of vibe.
On our second day in Queenstown we went to the Luge. They have one in Rotorua as well, and it’s basically go-karting down a mountain on a concrete road. It is SUPER fun! We all did it, even Grandma and Grandpa, and all of us had a great time. There is something very similar to this in Park City called the Alpine Slide, but I like the Luge better because if you’re behind someone slow on the Alpine Slide, you can’t pass them, but on the Luge you can.
Next we drove a couple of hours to a town called Milford. Milford is a town that is right next to the famous New Zealand Fiord lands and the Milford sound. We went on a full day trip to these places and it was just as amazing as people described it, but times ten!
In the morning, we were picked up by a bus and there were only about 15 of us, including the bus driver. After the trip, we all agreed that it wouldn’t have been the same experience without the bus ride. Ray, our bus driver, had lived in Milford his whole life, so he explained all sorts of cool stories about the things we saw along the way and made plenty of stops to take pictures and walk around. We even stopped to drink from a river that was the color of PowerAde because it was so clean.
When we got on the boat at the Milford Sound, we were blown away by the size and beauty of everything around us. There were waterfalls, seals, and enormous cliffs, and when you saw it all after a while, you just felt like an ant.
Once we got back to Queenstown we had one more activity to do, and that was the K-Jet. The K-Jet is a really fast boat ride on Lake Wakatipu that does 360’s and close corner turns. But when I say close corners, I mean 3-inch gaps between walls, rocks, and other obstacles. It was very fun and we all had a blast!
I am so happy that my grandparents visited and I know they are too.
We had such an amazing time.
Now my other Grandparents (Mom’s side) are visiting and we’ll have fun with them too! We’re off to Australia tomorrow to go meet them there!